After the start of a much needed break for Kyle Lowry and DeMar Derozan, it was all fun and smiles for the duo at the 66th annual NBA all star game in New Orleans, Louisiana. Lowry and DeRozan joined forces for the Eastern Conference all-star squad for the second time in their careers (DeMar flew solo at the 2014 all-star game, while Lowry did the same in 2015), and unfortunately, they experienced another loss for the Eastern Conference squad who have now dropped 3 straight all-star games to the Western Conference. Not that anyone is really keeping count.
The game was kicked off by the rhythmical stylings of the Roots, who’s silky smooth flow and elegant command of beat made for an awesome intro led by Black Thought – even the players couldn’t resist nodding along:
If the first quarter was any early indication, it was obvious that this game, like so many of its previous iterations, was going to be an absolute shootout. The score was 53-48 at the end of 1, and both teams kept up their blistering offense in light of the hilariously lethargic defense. Here’s a summary of the contest, the first all-star game to ever to combine for over 370 points.
Final Score: East 182, West 192
All-star game MVP: Anthony Davis
Combined FG shooting: 162/280 (57.9%)
Combined assists: 103
Leader – points: Anthony Davis (52)
Leader – assists: Kyrie Irving (14)
Leader – rebounds: Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant, Marc Gasol (10)
DeMar Derozan watch
After splashing two 3’s at last night’s celebrity shootout for the Sager Strong foundation (what an idea by the NBA), DeRozan’s shooting at the Smoothie King Center for all-star weekend was already off to a good start (Check out the full video here)
In reality, there wasn’t much more defense was played in tonight’s game. Aside from an early turnover which found its way in Kawhi’s hands for a fastbreak dunk, DeMar was able to have his way for an easy 16 points on the night, including a first quarter rim-rocker:
DeRozan’s passing was also on display, with an open court alley-oop for LBJ.
Field goals: 8-15
3 point field goals: 0-0
Kyle Lowry watch
Kyle came off of the bench late in the first quarter, starting things off by hitting a tough turnaround 3 in the corner:
Lowry came on strong in the second half, with a few easy layups and open 3’s to total 19 points, to go along with 3 boards. Lowry had 16 of his points in a third quarter flurry that included 4 3’s. He could’ve probably used some of that shooting touch last night in the 3-point contest.
Field goals: 7-11
3 point field goals: 5-9
The Raptors will enjoy a much needed extended break over the course of the next four full days, as they look to integrate Serge Ibaka into what is expected to be a revitalized roster, hopefully ready to rid itself of its shooting and defensive struggles. A rangy and shot-capable Ibaka, combined with the now multiple-time all-stars in Lowry and DeMar can look to make their mark in an increasingly competitive Eastern Conference. The rest and practice can only do so much at this point, because if they’re going to have any chance against the red hot Celtics who are coming to town to kick things off on Friday night, mental toughness, defensive grit, and a sharp touch from outside will be vital.
On the bright side, the Raps are 2-1 against the Celtics this season, who are 17-12 on the road, 8-3 in the division, and are averaging just over 108 points a game. And yep…Isaiah Thomas still leads the league in fourth quarter scoring, with a crisp 10.7 points per game in the final frame. In other words, if this thing is even remotely close well into the second half, expect a lot of annoying wrist-staring and tapping from the mid-season MVP candidate. The Raptors will be coming in winners of only 4 of their last 16, but are likely to be energized on Friday, with what’s expected to be a raucous ACC behind them.
Tip time is 8:00 pm Friday, on Sportsnet ONE and ESPN (US).